Mariner band earns spot at 2018 Festival of Gold

Ensembles garner awards for performances at Seattle Heritage Festival
By Nicholas Johnson | May 10, 2017

Students in Mariner High School’s band ensembles performed well enough April 22 at the Seattle Heritage Festival to earn a spot at next year’s WorldStrides Festival of Gold in Washington, D.C.

“This is probably the best sounding group that I’ve had, and I’ve had some really great groups in recent years,” Mariner band teacher Chris Angelos said of the school’s wind ensemble, which is made of members of three concert bands.

The school’s wind ensemble last performed in a Festival of Gold in April 2016 in San Francisco.

“We took 50 kids last year and drove a bus for 16 hours to get there,” Angelos said.

At this year’s Seattle Heritage Festival, the school’s combined bands, its jazz band and its percussion ensemble each received gold medals for their performances, as well as two adjudicator awards for earning average scores of 92 or better. They also won the Festival Sweepstakes Award and the Spirit of Seattle Award.

“The Spirit of Seattle Award is for the school that was most supportive of the other performing schools,” Angelos said. “Our kids stayed throughout the festival to listen to other schools perform.”

Senior Daniel Blakeslee won a Maestro Award for being one of the top performers in the festival. He performed a flugal horn solo with the jazz band.

“He was totally shocked to have gotten that award,” Angelos said, noting that two years ago during a festival in Anaheim, California, Blakeslee watched as an older student received the Maestro Award, inspiring him to keep practicing and performing.

The bands have been performing at festivals and parades throughout the year, the last of which for this year will be the Norwegian Constitution Day Parade on May 17 in Ballard.

A final home concert is set for 7 p.m. June 6 at Kamiak High School’s Performing Arts Center. It’s free, but donations are encouraged, as the wind ensemble will have to pay its way to Washington, D.C. next spring.

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